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Can children decide where to live after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2023 | Custody, Divorce |

The process of developing childcare arrangements after your divorce is both important and complicated. When making these decisions, it is best to prioritize the interests of the family, particularly the children.

Understanding how conservatorship work in Texas can help you determine how to approach this complex situation.

Conservatorship policies in Texas

Texas law uses the term conservatorship rather than custody to refer to childcare arrangements after divorce. State guidelines encourage conservatorship orders that provide stability and safety for children. Furthermore, Texas policies try to maintain connections between parents and children when appropriate.

The state distinguishes between managing conservatorship, which refers to a parent’s ability to participate in important family decisions, and possessory conservatorship, which determines where the child resides. Joint managing conservatorship is the norm except in cases of abuse or unfit parenting. Possessory conservatorship arrangements can vary significantly. Some children of divorced parents split time equally between both households. Others reside with one parent primarily. Judges weigh factors, including childcare abilities and living conditions, when making conservatorship decisions.

Children’s wishes and conservatorship

Often family court judges interview minor children to learn about their experiences and wishes. These conversations aim to assess the children’s preferences and maturity. Older children’s desires tend to have more impact. However, judges do not simply heed children’s choices. For example, a parent might try to disparage their ex-spouse or win their child’s favor with gifts or bribes. Additionally, some children lack the sound judgment or maturity to make such important decisions.

Your child’s opinion can influence a judge’s decisions regarding conservatorship. However, minor children generally cannot choose their living arrangements after divorce.